Believe it or not, there are some people who seek to "get" something out of their vacations beyond a sunburn and a souvenir mug. Whether you're hoping for increased flexibility and mindfulness, a deeper knowledge of the natural world, or a conversation with your deceased Aunt Sally, Maine offers immersive retreats that go beyond beach days and boozy nights. We've compiled this list for those of you who really want to get away this summer.
Stretch your spirit
This historical home in southern Aroostook County, near Baxter State Park and Mount Katahdin (i.e., waaaaay up there), hosts two to eight guests at a time, with varying levels of yoga experience. A five-day stay is the minimum recommendation, although visitors have opted to stay for a shorter (or longer) time. "We have discovered since we opened in 1997 that Sewall House especially seems a good choice for people going through some sort of change in their life, whether it be work-related, relationship or health-related," the website reads. In addition to six bedrooms in the main house, there is a more isolated camp on the nearby lake that can be rented by special application. The five-day retreat rate ($900-1300) includes daily yoga and meditation sessions, vegetarian meals, nature activities, and a sauna. Massages are available too, at an additional cost.
Sewall House Yoga Retreat | Island Falls | 888.235.2395 | sewallhouse.com
Quiet mind, voice, gadgets
Rolling Meadows is similarly small (serving up to 10 participants at a time), and caters to everyone from novices to gurus. Here's what's notable about this retreat, located on 100 acres Downeast: it's truly unplugged. "The morning after arrival participants are asked to refrain from social conversation with one another during meals and free-time," Rolling Meadows tells its prospective guests. "We call this 'social silence.'" The silence — no cell phones or computers, either! — supports daily "self-inquiry sessions," in addition to hatha, yin, and restorative yoga workshops, and meditation. The accommodations are in an 1840s New England farmhouse ($450-850 for three- to six-night retreats), and there's a sauna, nature trails, and a pond for swimming.
Rolling Meadows Retreat | Brooks | 888.666.6412 | rollingmeadowsretreat.comWrite the night away
Want to flex your mental muscles in a secluded setting? There are accommodations for eight to 10 people at the Fifth House Lodge, a 1930s tourist retreat about an hour from Portland that director Joan Lee Hunter has transformed into a haven for writers. Hunter, who has taught at Maine College of Art, the University of Southern Maine, and the University of New England, offers three-day writing workshops ($250), personalized coaching ($75/hour), and rooms at the lodge ($80 per night in conjunction with a workshop or personal retreat). There's also a cabin on the grounds, "with its writing desk overlooking mountains and fields," available by the week from May to October ($500 per week). If you're looking for inspiration beyond the lakes, trees, and hills, keep in mind that Stephen King set The Mist in Bridgton.
Fifth House Lodge | Bridgton | 207.647.3506 | fifthhouselodge.net
Choose your own adventure